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Political Participation from a Citizenship Perspective

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Conventional academic studies on political participation mostly focus on electoral politics including electoral systems, political party structures and their interaction with other governmental processes. These studies adopt an approach that presumes the existence of a pre-defined people (demos). Hence, existing literature on electoral politics and government structures take for granted a pre-defined demos and then survey participatory practices. Yet, there is another way to study political participation. It can be studied from the angle of citizenship. This involves an approach that does not rely on an ex post facto interest in the activities of a pre-defined demos but one that unravels the factors that go into its definition. Study of political participation from a citizenship perspective contains an effort to problematize the very notion of demos. Decoupling of national identity and participation empowers a vision of citizenship not as membership in a nation-state but as a set of rights that include multi-cultural rights. It is the contention of this article that European Union processes have the potential to contribute to the deepening of democratization by promoting diversity through introduction of denationalization of citizenship as well as processes of deliberation in member and candidate countries.


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